Mad Men is one of the best shows on TV. It’s also, arguably, the most stressful show on TV. I might not be the perfect person to make this argument because I don’t watch Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, but let’s just say, it’s pretty damn stressful. It’s got lots of cheating, ominous flashbacks, the looming assault to the senses that was 1970s fashion, and a main character that you find yourself attracted to even though he’s a sex addict and possibly a sociopath.
Sometimes it can be hard to even begin watching an episode of Mad Men because you know that instead of relaxing TV to zone out to, you absolutely need to focus 100% of your attention on the show. You have to make sure all your windows are shut to keep out noise, go to the bathroom so you won’t have to risk missing something later, and confirm that you’re watching with a person who won’t talk during the episode. Then, once you actually start watching, even more problems kick in. Is Megan going to catch Don with Sylvia? Is Sally going to show up somewhere and see something inappropriate again? Is there going to be ANOTHER Bobby? The questions are endless and they will eat away at you if you don’t do something about it. There’s only one episode left in this season, but it’s never to late to learn how to keep your calm, especially since the finale will likely be a doozy. Here’s my four step plan to reducing as much stress as possible while watching Mad Men.
1. Pour yourself a drink.
One of the greatest things about Mad Men is that it gives viewers the perfect excuse to drink. Drinking along to Mad Men is classy. It’s not like playing a drinking game with tequila and Natty Light while watching Jersey Shore. It’s like a real life, television version of The Finer Things Club. You can learn to make old fashions to be like Don or try out gimlets, Betty‘s drink of choice. They’ll be delicious, you’ll feel fancy, and they’ll calm you’re nerves as you wait to see what the freak is up with Bob Benson.
2. Talk it out.
Find a buddy and talk things out with them. It’s like AA– you need a support system to help you through this. “Hi. I’m Lia. I watch Mad Men.” “Hi, Lia.” Voicing some of your concerns with a fellow viewer really helps you get some things off your chest.
Example talking points include:
-Is Don going to die at midnight on January 1, 1970? If so, how are you going to go on living knowing that one of the greatest shows ever had such a crappy ending?
-Is everyone in the whole entire world a cheater and should I totally go look through my boyfriend’s phone immediately because obviously he’s having sex with like five people right now including a department store owner, a pothead, our downstairs neighbor, and his gorgeous ex-wife? Right? Right?!?!?
-What the hell happened to Peggy‘s baby? Didn’t they mention that it’s with her sister? Is that baby, who is now like five, ever going to return?
It’s good to state your opinions during commercial breaks, but save thoughts that are going to take longer (ie. “No, for real, does everyone in the whole world cheat?”) until after the episode is over. And, please, don’t comment while actually watching. That isn’t a stress thing, it’s just sooooo annoying.
3. Remember that you still have Peggy.
Don might be a horrible person. I say “might be” instead of “is” because this show is insane and I still don’t know if I’m supposed to give up on him actually changing. OH MY GOD. AM I REALLY SUPPOSED TO GIVE UP ON HIM??!?! WHAT IS THE WORLD????
Ahem. Yeah… so, when I get to thinking like that, I remind myself that Peggy is, and has always been, my favorite character and that she’s still awesome. Maybe she sometimes does questionable things like when she kissed Ted Chaoughghghgh that one time, but it happens. And! Whenever she has an awkward kiss with a guy who she shouldn’t be kissing, she doesn’t then have sex with them all the time and leave Lindsay Weir locked in a hotel room for an entire day. Don does that. Not Peggy. Make her your fave if she isn’t already and constantly remind yourself that there’s at least one decent person on this show who you can root for and who won’t make you question all of humanity.
4. Don’t read “spoilers.”
Spoilers for Mad Men don’t really exist because Matthew Weiner doesn’t mess with that. I mean, you’ve seen the “Next Week on Mad Men” previews. There is nothing in those expect a bunch of people saying, “What?”, clearing their throats, and blowing cigarette smoke. If we can’t even get a hint of what’s happening on the next episode, then we sure as hell can’t find out who’s going to die or get pregnant, but that hasn’t stopped people from trying. Don’t under any circumstances read these “spoilers.” I never read them. Sure, you can tell yourself that they aren’t real, but then the whole time you’re watching the show they’ll be on your mind forcing you to wonder when Pete Campbell is going to reveal himself as a murderer. By the way, that isn’t a rumored plot point. I just made that up. Or did I…? No, really, I did. Like I said, I don’t read spoilers and you shouldn’t either.
There you have it. Try these out the next time you watch– especially the drinking part, it really works!– and you’ll be sure to have a calmer experience.
Do you guys have any tips of your own for easing stress while watching the show?